“I suggest to all believers everywhere that we have a solemn religious duty to be witnesses of God.” Read the full article.—Elder Dallin H. Oaks
The First Three Articles of Faith
Sometimes the most needed things we can teach are things we tend to take for granted.
We must stress the fundamental truths on which our beliefs are based and not assume others understand them.
The Apostle John uses the term anti-Christ to describe one who “denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).
Today those who deny the existence of God are called atheists.
The Book of Mormon account of Korihor (see Alma 30) prepares us for denials of God.
This means that where moral issues are concerned there are no reasonable ways to make moral distinctions that always apply.
Behind this assumption there is not God, or if there is, He has given no commandments that apply to us today.
This philosophy, most influential in higher education, rejects formal religious morality and relies on scientific evidence.
Many positive contributions have been made by adherents of humanism, such as their support of human rights, education, and democracy.
Our issue with them is their rejection of divine authority and values.
The Great and Abominable Church and Other “Churches”
Teachings in the Book of Mormon use the word church to signify belief or nonbelief in God (see final chapters of 2 Nephi).
In the Savior’s ministry among the Nephites, He warned against a church that is not “built upon my gospel, [but] is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil” (3 Nephi 27:11). See also 1 Nephi 8:26-33; 11:35, 12:18—teachings about the “great and spacious building”.
These warnings are not limited to religious organizations. They include a multitude of secular philosophies and activities.
Three Things We Can Do in Response to Current Conditions
Honor the name and influence of God in our private prayers and personal greetings.
Publicly recognize the blessings of God, setting the right example in our family and Church teachings.
Contend for the free exercise of religion which requires cooperative action by believers of various faith.
We must affirm our religious faiths, unite to insist upon our right to the free exercise of our religions, and honor their vital roles in establishing and preserving and prospering nations.
The consequence of our failing to speak out as witness of God is evident in our Savior’s teaching about the salt that has lost its savor (Matthew 5:13).