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.
This Article of Faith feels incredibly relevant right now, while the debate over Park51 rages throughout the US. Mormons are just as split regarding the issue as everyone else, and the Church has never officially commented on the ability of a private group to build a religious center on ground they own (though they did comment on the shameful plans to burn the Koran). I personally think that the Church hasn’t released an official statement because they don’t really need to. Everything they could say was detailed by Joseph Smith in the article quoted at the top of this post.
The original Nauvoo temple was burned down by an arsonist in 1848 (after the members during that time were forced to abandon their homes and flee persecution by mobs in the dead of winter). The Church has had to fight to build a temple in Phoenix, Arizona. The temple in Boston was originally opened without the steeple on top due to a lawsuit filed by those who calimed building it violated the First Amendment. The first members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were forced to build and abandon far too many times for our religious culture to have so quickly forgotten what it feels like to be told that we can’t exercise our religius freedom.
This tenent of our faith was just as critical 150 years ago as it is today, and we continue to invite all to worshiop how, where, or what they may*.
*Sad that I need a disclaimer for this post, but of course people should worship how they may as long as it’s legal.