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LDS Church statement reiterates religious freedom for all

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SALT LAKE CITY — Tuesday morning, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement concerning religious freedom, reiterating its long-held sentiment that all faiths should be treated with dignity.

The church reiterated that though it remains neutral on party politics and election campaigns, "it is not neutral in relation to religious freedom." The LDS Church pointed to its first president Joseph Smith Jr.'s teachings.

President Smith said in 1843:

"If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a 'Mormon,' I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves. It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul—civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race.

The statement came just a day after presidential hopeful Donald Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States," applying to visitors and immigrants alike.

The church also included a second quote from President Smith, said in Nauvoo on March 1, 1841:

"Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo, that the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-day Saints, Quakers, Episcopals, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans [Muslims], and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges in this city …"

Contributing: Sam Penrod

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