Elder Dallin H. Oaks
In the long run, the vitality of religious freedom must rely on public understanding and support. “Strengthening the Free Exercise of Religion,” Part II of Speech, May 16, 2013.
We must enlist the support of persons who have what is called “spirituality” but who lack denominational affiliation. Religious freedom must not be seen as something serving only the interests of churches and synagogues. It must be understood as a protection for religious people, whether or not their beliefs involve membership or behavior. Support for the First Amendment free exercise of religion should not be limited to those who intend to exercise it, individually or through denominational affiliation. “Strengthening the Free Exercise of Religion,” Part II of Speech, May 16, 2013.
We must give greater attention to the education of the rising generation. If the foundation of religious liberty is weakening, it must be because the role of religion and the contribution of religious organizations and religiously motivated people in our nation is not sufficiently understood. “Strengthening the Free Exercise of Religion,” Part II of Speech, May 16, 2013.
The problem of educating the public, and especially the rising generation, needs to be addressed on a front wider than preaching, lobbying, and litigating. We must employ education to broaden the base of citizens who understand and are committed to defending religious freedom. This will require better information for our religious believers and also the enlistment of other groups. “Strengthening the Free Exercise of Religion,” Part II of Speech, May 16, 2013.
We should…contend for the inclusion in textbooks and teaching in school settings of accurate accounts of great historical documents that recognize and invoke the blessings of God in the founding and preservation of this nation….Such acknowledgements and pleas are part of our history and should not be omitted from our memories or our culture. “Witnesses of God,” BYU-Idaho Devotional February 25, 2014 (Part III.B).
The involvement of nations and multinational organizations in support of religious freedom is necessary and valuable but not sufficient. The preservation of religious freedom depends upon public understanding of and support for this vital freedom. It depends upon the value the public attaches to the teachings of right and wrong in churches, synagogues, and mosques. Believers and nonbelievers must be helped to understand that it is faith in God—however defined—that translates religious teachings into the moral behavior that benefits the nation. As more and more citizens believe in God, or at least in the importance of the moral absolutes taught by religious leaders, the importance of religious freedom will be better understood and supported. Many will also be persuaded that religious leaders, who preach right and wrong, make a unique contribution to society and should therefore have special legal protection. “Challenges to Religious Freedom,” Address at the Argentina Council for Foreign Relations (CARI) April 23, 2015 (Part VI).
Elder Robert D. Hales
As disciples of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to work together with like-minded believers, to raise our voices for what is right. While members should never claim or even imply that they are speaking for the Church, we are all invited, in our capacity as citizens, to share our personal witness with conviction and love—“every man [and woman] according to his [or her own] mind.” Alma 2:5. “Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom,” General Conference, April 2015.
Elder Quentin L. Cook
Our challenge is to help people without religious faith understand that the protection of moral principles grounded in religion is a great benefit to society and that religious devotion is critical to public virtue. “Restoring Morality and Religious Freedom,” Ensign, September 2012 (p. 37).