[quote="Janderich, post:7, topic:274197"]
I have found it interesting on this site that so much discussion focuses on rarely talked about teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This I believe gives a skewed view of what we focus on and how we see the world.
Let's break from LDS for a moment and look at a secularist who has a deeply held conviction regarding religion. This secularist believes that religion (Catholicism, LDS, Islam, Judaism, Confucianism, Deism, everyone) is responsible for every single war in human history and that world peace will only be achieved if religion is eliminated. This mindset is frighteningly common in the world today.
Let's say a Southern Baptist strikes up a conversation with this secularist regarding, say, disease in Africa. The secularist and the Baptist agree that there is too much poverty and disease in Africa and that as well-to-do Westerners, all of us have an obligation to do what we can to help. The Baptist tells the secularist that his Baptist church is sending a mission to Africa to help teach work skills to poor people. Then the secularist winces, realizing he's talking to a Christian, and a missionary one at that.
As it turns out, the Baptist and the secularist have superficially similar goals for solving this problem. However, their motivations are completely different. The Baptist is concerned with the well-being of each poor African and wants to give them all a chance to have a decent education. The secularist wants to reduce the birth rate by shipping condoms and contraception to Africa, essentially concentrating wealth by eliminating the poorest of the poor before they are even conceived.
The difference is entirely a matter of belief. The secularist's belief regarding religion has him painting the Baptists (and the Catholics) as unnecessarily generating poverty by asserting that the poor have a right to exist. Because he does not believe there is a right to existence, his actions necessarily follow.
Here,* precisely because of its dogma about the pre-mortal existence*, the LDS church is on the side of the secularist. In the LDS view, contraception is permissible because no one is deprived of the right to exist on account of contraception because everyone already exists.
So, these "rarely talked about teachings" of the LDS (or any other religion or belief system) are absolutely vital. It is usually these beliefs that define us at the core of who we are. My belief in God as the ETERNAL Father (and not simply "Heavenly," i.e. one of many men who supposedly became a god) is central to my belief in the inalienable right to exist, and that right in turn is central to my belief in democracy. As I have explained earlier, if the One who gave those rights to us is not eternal and supreme, but is rather just one god among many, the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not truly inalienable.
History bears this out: back when Europe was composed of absolute monarchies, one king would routinely revoke the rights of the subjects of another king. That kind of foolishness lead to war upon war and is the reason why the United States of America declared her independence--on the basis of a transcendent creator God having given to men the inalienable rights I have just described. That belief is rejected by Mormons.
What you believe matters.