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.
The Mormon Church echoes the words of the founding documents of the United States, that there are inalienable rights, of which freedom of religion is one. This is all the more significant after considering Mormon history, and the incessant persecution depriving Mormons of the very rights their nation proclaimed–life, liberty, property, and freedom of worship. Considering that members of many other sects had fled to America to avoid persecution of their own, it is possible that the Mormon Church was started in the only nation that would permit its existence and expansion, despite the historical difficulties. It is with this background that the Mormon Church defends all forms of worship and advocates religious liberty.
The Mormon Church is committed to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, but does so only as an invitation to follow Christ. Compulsion and coercion are not in line with Mormon Church policy or principles. Indeed, central to Mormon doctrine is the idea of personal agency which permits all mankind to choose their own path in life. Mormonism teaches that agency is one of the greatest gifts God has given man and one which He will not violate. The trial of moral agency is the purpose of this life. God has put us all here to test whether we will obey the commandments of the Lord.
The Church sends 50,000 Mormon missionaries throughout the world to spread the gospel. Each one goes through a period of training to learn the conversion process through invitation and encouragement. In every nation where missionaries are sent, the permission of that government has been secured. The desire to convert all to the faith is one tenet of the Mormon Church, but every effort is made to ensure this is done without infringing on the rights of others. Mormon missionaries do not “sell” the gospel. They present its truths by the Spirit and encourage investigators to pray and ask God to validate its truthfulness. Many who hear the gospel receive this confirmation and believe it is true, but then decide that they cannot live its precepts.
The Church is also dedicated to peaceful and friendly association with those of all beliefs in accordance with the Lord’s command to “love thy neighbour.” Whether religious or unreligious, the Mormon Church acknowledges the inalienable rights of every person to pursue happiness according to their own desires. The Church has been working to join in the association of other Christian churches, in both formal organizations and informal relations. It has met with some resistance, but through patience and goodwill, there has been progress. However, there is a balance necessary between tolerance and advocacy. In the religious sphere, the Mormon Church defends the rights of others to believe (or not) how they wish, but is unwavering in its claim that it is the only church authorized by Jesus Christ to administer the gospel in these last days.
This applies to secular issues as well. Many are preaching tolerance while hypocritically being intolerant of religious beliefs. Abortion and homosexuality are two of the most controversial issues on which the balance between tolerance and advocacy must be found. In relation to both conflicting religious doctrines and secular social issues, the Mormon Church strives to balance tolerance of others’ beliefs while standing firm in asserting its own.