The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called the Mormon or LDS Church, is no stranger to social media, online publishing and web PR. In fact, the Mormon Church has recently declared their increasing use of online resources to spread the word about the church, lessening “door-to-door proselytizing” to bring in new members to the church. The controversial church “takes a bold and aggressive approach to informing people about their religion” and have launched online campaigns such as their “I’m a Mormon” campaign, a Facebook page, and the Mormon Newsroom, a website that serves as an official resource for the news media, media influencers and the public.
Consistent with their continuously developing online presence, the LDS church has launched a Religious Freedom Awareness campaign, publishing a topic page on the Mormon Newsroom on the subject of religious freedom, described as a “fundamental human right that protects the conscience of all people.” The church contextualized their resonant statements against the erosion of religious freedom in the United States, expressing hope that “there is much good that Church members and people of goodwill can do to preserve and strengthen religious freedom.” Mormon Apostle L. Tom Perry asserts in a 1:57-minute video, “These essential freedoms of conscience, embedded in religious liberty must be diligently preserved and protected.”
The topic page also discusses the meaning of religious freedom in a 4:25-minute video with whiteboard animation that answers the question, “What is religious freedom?” The page discusses why religious freedom matters to Mormons and all of society and the consequent duty that we all have to ensure that we continue to enjoy this fundamental right. It concludes with a 8:45-minute video on “preserving religious freedom” and an outlined call-to-action on what we can do to learn, practice and promote it.
To accompany this valiant effort, the LDS church also created a Support Religious Freedom Facebook Page that provides news and information about religious freedom. It features related articles on the Mormon Newsroom and provides an avenue for healthy discussion on the subject. The page has amassed 10,874 likes as of today.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been involved in issues of religious freedom since their earliest days. Deseret News quotes church founder Joseph Smith, “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 other 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.” In the same spirit, Elder Dallin H. Oaks also gave a speech on religious freedom at BYU-Idaho in October 2009, discussing the constitutional foundation of religious freedom and the state of religious freedom in the United States, among other issues.
World Religion News has created a comprehensive list of online sites and resources on Religious Freedom for readers who would like to further explore the subject. Religious freedom involves all of us, whether we ascribe to a religion or not, and it is important that we educate ourselves about it.