Freedom: A Gospel Standard

Called Unto Liberty, 1939, John A. Widtsoe, 20th Century Sermons

Latter-day Saints should find no difficulty in distinguishing between truth and error, right and wrong, even under our changing physical life, in the midst of the flood of new knowledge and invention. The Gospel is a guide to conduct, a chart for life’s voyage, a set of ideals by which every proposition may be measured. Latter-day Saints should test every new offering by Gospel standards. That is one of the high opportunities within the Church of Jesus Christ.

For example, the right of free agency is fundamental in the Gospel structure. Man should always be left free to accept or to reject. There should be no interference with the human will . . . .

This principle may be used in evaluating the merit of many social, economic, and political offerings of the day. Communism, Facism, and Naziism may be judged by this principle: whatever endangers to the least degree man’s right to act for himself is not of God and must be resisted by Latter-day Saints . . . .

Every present-day offering and our every decision, must be tested by Gospel standards. That is the urgent need of the day.


Source: John A. Widtsoe, 1939, Improvement Era 42:488-9. John A. Widtsoe (1872-1952) was a noted author, scientist, and academician, and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1921 until his death.

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