Mormon leaders stand behind rules for gays, their children

In this Feb. 6, 2013, file photo, the angel Moroni statue, silhouetted against a cloud-covered sky, sits atop the Salt Lake Temple, at Temple Square, in Salt Lake City.

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is speaking out in support of religious freedom in the wake of Donald Trump's proposal for a total ban on Muslims entering the United States.

A statement issued Tuesday quotes from the founder of the Salt Lake City-based Mormon church. Joseph Smith said in 1843 that he was willing to die for members of any religious denomination whose rights are under siege, as well as members of his own faith.

It also quotes from an 1841 ordinance passed in the Mormon-founded city of Nauvoo, which lists Muslims among the groups that had equal privileges there.

The church says that while it is politically neutral, it does support religious freedom.

A church spokesman says the statement comes after Trump's comments touched off a national conversation on the issue.

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