These two things might not seem related except in my own mind, but I'll explain.
I'm reading Jefferson, a novel by Max Byrd of Jefferson, written in a mostly historical but slightly embellished way. A few things have jumped out at me - Jefferson's devotion to freedom and democracy first of all - intensified by his diplomatic service in France. Next his realization that religious freedom means that the state cannot have a favored, preferred religion or that any faith have the power to force itself on any people (to which I might add that I doubt he would approve of atheism being forced in public). Third, his passion for education, knowing that democracy is impossible if the citizens are ignorant (to which I notice that the news media does all in their power to not educate but lead their readerships to think the same biased way they do). Lastly, the ill of slavery.
Jefferson himself was opposed to slavery as an institution but yet had slaves. I don't understand it and don't pretend to. Later on in the book, a slave of Jefferson's (in Paris with him as a free man), is told he is a slave to strong drink. It's true there are many kinds of slavery. This is a big part of why members of the LDS Church avoid alcohol, coffee and tea, drugs, pornography, and any other addicting sustance or behavior. A slave to habit has less freedom. Less freedom to choose his or her path in life. Unfortunately, exactly what the entitlement system in the United States has become. Those on government welfare have less opportunity than those that don't. Without a work requirement for many welfare recipients across the country, it's literally a life sentence. How can they work again without competitive skills? Why isn't the government instead more devoted to education and empowerment of its citizens? It comes down to "buying" votes with welfare checks. That's why Herman Cain raised so many tempers when he said he got "off the plantation."
Glenn Beck recently featured Mormonism on his TV show, dispeling myths and clarifying beliefs and practices of those in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a Mormon himself, if you don't know. I respect him greatly for being bold and brave enough to devote an entire show to his faith, partly because of the false attacks on the LDS Church, which are prevalent because Romney is Republican and the press is liberal so they want to sway voters away from Romney.
What Jefferson most feared in democracy was the ignorance of its participants. What I saw in response to Glenn Beck's show (at least as written up at The Blaze) boggles my mind. Here Glenn Beck devotes an hour to dispeling myths and assuring people that Mormons aren't what the press says (a case of mis-education in and of itself), and some of the comments still insist that Mormons are evil and don't worship the same Christ as the rest of Christianity! I don't know that these ideas all came from the press, because some might come from well-meaning but misguided pastors.
I understand this exclusive mentality of some Christians in this country (myself having felt 'superior' in my faith in more immature years - many apologies to any I offended then), but it is not in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is not a competition. [For more on this please go here]. Christ welcomed all with open arms. Christ loved all without reservations. Christ accepted sinners and taught them to repent, because repentence brings happiness.
I believe that there is much good and truth in every religion in this world. I believe that the faithful all over the world worship the same God, whether or not we call him by that name. I believe that Christ is the Savior of the world. I believe that God loves all His children and wants us to love all His children too. I believe that there are people all over this earth who try to please God with all their hearts. This isn't to say all religious people, but I hope you catch my meaning. The people who are close to God realize that love is what counts. Unconditional, Christ-like love. Even if they're not Christians and call it something else.
Mormons realize that there is much good outside of ourselves, and we embrace it. We invite those interested to learn more about what we believe and see if we cannot add to the truth they know, the peace and happiness they know. The core belief in the LDS Church is to follow Jesus Christ, because that is where true happiness lies.
John 17:3 "This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thought hast sent."
In conclusion, rest assured that freedom is only possible with education. A balanced, open-minded education. Read both sides because fair and balanced coverage doesn't exist. How can you make an informed opinion relying on only one point of view on any topic, religion or politics or anything else? You can't.