Freedom of Religion and Belief in The Book of Mormon

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Mosiah 29 is an interesting chapter in The Book of Mormon as it highlights King Mosiah establishing a new form of government among the Nephites. He, and the people, are rejecting a monarch and establishing a system of judges who are elected by the voice of the people. At first glance, a person may wonder what this has to do with the freedom of religion and belief. The ‘democratic’ system of government that is being established is to guard against the excesses of an unrighteous King (Indeed, King Noah is only in the recent past). Such a King:

…enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness (Mosiah 29:23).

Society and the maintenance of order should not be at the whim of one person. Placing too much power in the hands of one person will most often lead to corruption and cronyism; where we perhaps see exceptions being made to the enaction of laws against certain people or groups. Maybe because I come from a country where there is a constitutional monarchy, I am very aware that it is not just monarchs that game the system, individuals and groups can ensure that the system works to their advantage. In a contemporary example, this can be seen in a system that establishes one race or one gender as the dominant force, where women are paid a fraction of what men are paid for the same role. Or maybe where a  race does not have the same protection under the law. These are the results of when some people, or one person, wants to establish or reinforce a system of privilege not based on justice.