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The United states is a liberal western democracy arising out of the "Reformation" in which the power of the Christian church to compel obedience was defeated. In its place are democratic values transferring power downward to the people. Democracy values individual liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the separation of Church and State. Therefore, it is fair to expect such constitutional rights (also named liberal rights) be assimilated by resident religious organizations whether Christian, Jewish, or Islamic.

Religious groups, however, are often a haven for authoritarians who desire power upwards towards their God as the head of Church and State. It is a power claim in conflict with Democratic values. This conflict was true of the Mormon founder, Joseph Smith, who envisioned a theocracy, and is true of Islam. Many fundamentalist Christians are willing to use government power to impose religious belief by force of law as when Mormons and Catholics organized Proposition 8 in California to deny civil marriage to same sex couples.

The source of power and the use of power, either coercive or persuasive, identify the organizational type more than any other single attribute. Hence, the necessity of discussing coercion, force, pressure in a religious context. The concept of religious coercion is defined on page ten (10) of my paper, The Authoritarian Temptation.

The nature of true religious power and human freedom is well described in the Declaration on Religious Freedom: Dignitatis Humanae, Pope Paul VI, 1965:

“In all his activity a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of life. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience. Nor … is he to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience … The reason is that the exercise of religion, of its very nature, consist before all else in those internal, voluntary and free acts whereby man sets the course of his life directly toward God. No merely human power can either command or prohibit acts of this kind. The social nature of man, however, itself requires that he should give external expression to his internal acts of religion: that he should share with others in matters religious; that he should profess his religion in community. Injury therefore is done to the human person and to the very order established by God for human life, if the free exercise of religion is denied in society ... A since of the dignity of the human person demand[s] … that men should act on their own judgment, enjoying and making use of a responsible freedom, not driven by coercion but motivated by a sense of duty ... However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless he enjoys immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom"


Exit Statement at Resignation                      

Authoritarian Temptation (Sunstone speech)     

LDS Women (Sunstone speech)                      

Mormon Way of Knowing (Son Brent)

DNA Evidence (Former Bishop Simon Southerton)

Rebuttal to Devine Love (Paul Tascono)

Mormon Alliance (Web site)

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