LDS Understandings of Religious Freedom: Responding to the Shifting Cultural Pendulum


Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Religious freedom, Same sex marriage, Religious laws, Morality, Freedom, Theology, Establishment clause


In recent years, particularly following the LDS Church s in volvement in the debate regarding California's Proposition 8, in creased criticism and public scrutiny have focused on Mormon ism's stand on freedom. Many critical responses, whether coming from outsiders or insiders, and whether based on prejudice or on more careful engagement with LDS beliefs, tend to highlight a common thread. A recurrent claim is that the Church's nineteenth century approach to freedom is inconsistent with its twenty-first century stand.1 Some see the Church as having changed from a powerless persecuted entity into a powerful force of persecution. Even those who offer more nuanced conclusions seem to have difficulty recognizing continuity or a solid philosophical and theological foundation in Mormonism's approach. The purpose of this analysis is to highlight that philosophical and theological foundation and to explore the shifting cultural backgrounds that have framed and motivated statements by LDS leaders on this topic.

Original Publication Citation

Mauro Properzi, “LDS Understandings of Religious Freedom: Responding to the Shifting Cultural Pendulum.” Journal of Mormon History, 38:3 (Summer 2012), 128-147.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Mormon History




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor