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Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Meditation - Freedom to Worship

Yesterday during Sacrament meeting, our Stake President made a comment that started me thinking.  He made a comment about being excited to worship this day.  I asked myself Am I excited?  How should I be excited?  I started imagining living in a country where I didn't get to choose which Church to attend, or maybe didn't even get to attend any Church.  Imagine a country where you are punished if you are caught praying, even in your home (examples are in the scriptures).  Imagine a country where you can't talk to others about the Gospel without it being punishable by law.

I worry about where our country is headed.  Many schools have limited dress codes to prevent kids from wearing clothing that would publicize their religious beliefs in case it would offend.  We hear stories of kids being prevented from praying while in the school, even if they aren't trying to get others to participate.  There are many interpretations of what the separation of Church and State means - some thinking that our government can not recognize any organized religion's existence, which in my mind means they are endorsing atheism.  This is not a political blog normally.  And I don't intend for it to become one.  But I have to say stop trying to push a lack of belief in God because by doing so it is definitely violating separation of Church and State.  In my family (parents, siblings), we have a variety of religions yet we are able to function lovingly, recognizing each other's religion as legit and an integral part of how we live our lives.  We have those who don't go to any church so Sunday is basically the same as Saturday in their lives.  We have those who go to Church, but also will shop, go to the lake, etc. on Sunday.  And then we have us Mormons who go to Church and don't shop on Sunday.  When we plan family activities, we look at what everyone's abilities/interests are.  If we're going to gather at someone's home, Sunday is fine and we work around travel schedules and church meetings.  If we want to go out to eat, shopping, an amusement park, etc., we pick a Saturday.  It's called respect.  And I am blessed to have that with my family.  That's what our founding fathers intended with the separation of Church and State - not requiring everyone to believe the same thing and not punishing someone for believing different than you.

I get tired of being told that I'm intolerant because of what I believe.  I'm not forcing you to believe as I do, don't try to make me accept your decisions as acceptable for my family.  And I will vote my conscious.  Today, I have that right as do you.  I won't threaten you or harrass you if the vote doesn't go my way.  I love that we have the right to vote and make our voices heard.  And then we need to accept that vote.  If we don't like it, then we can continue to work to get our opinion heard and change things.

Sorry for the soap-box diversion.  Back to my thoughts from yesterday.  Looking at my life, I think too often I have taken for granted my right to attend the church of my choice.  I do tend to attend every week.  But do I celebrate that ability?  Do I wake up on Sunday morning excited to get ready to attend Sacrament meeting and worship?  Or am I bogged down by all the preparations of getting my family out the door with everything we need, trying to be on time..  Do I truly praise the Lord?  I know that I seek to learn what I need to learn from the lessons.

When we go to a party at a friend's house, everyone tends to walk in happy, joyful, excited to be there and celebrate.  We should have a similar joy, excitement to attend our church services.  We can do this!  There are currently places in this world where you can't.  This is one of our freedoms.  Not only do we need to work to protect it through political means, we need to celebrate it through spiritual means.  Let Heavenly Father know you appreciate that right by exercising it and by telling Him in your prayers.

And if you are reading this blog and don't happen to believe in Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father or you don't belong to the same Church that I do, or you believe but don't think that requires attending a Church, this still applies to you.  You can still celebrate and honor and protect the right you have in the United States to follow that personal belief.

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own cconscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.  11th Article of Faith

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