News Release

Interfaith Forum Hosted by Mormons Celebrates Diversity

Ten presenters were drummed in by a representative of First Nation Spirituality at a forum organized by the Multifaith Action Society (MAS) and hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at its Surrey, British Columbia, stake centre on October 22, 2016.

Marking the forum’s 49th year and in sync with MAS’s dedication to interreligious understanding and co-operation, community members gathered to hear speakers from 10 different faiths on the theme “Love and Compassion.”


“As these events increase in number, the participants come to know one another in a deeper and more sensitive way,” said Church member Dorothy Gurney. “We become friends in the true sense of the word — we need each other and will stand for one another against the assaults of indifference and hate.”

Following are the faiths represented at the forum, their representatives and a highlight from each as noted by an attendee:

First Nation Spirituality (Aline LaFlamme): We are all relations — all things in creation — and we must honour and revere each other.

Bahá’í (Anastasia Atkinson): Being at this forum is a confirmation of one’s faith — the unity of mankind.

Buddhism (Reverend Koten Benson): We can come to the gateway of compromise and not be afraid, not fear our neighbours.

Christianity (Kathleen Hastings, Surrey Stake Relief Society president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints): How we treat others shows our devotion to God and the importance of love and compassion as taught by Jesus Christ.

Hindu Dharma (Acharya Dwivedi): Truth and justice purifies our soul.

Islam (Dr. Syed Nasir Zaidi): We are all in need of the compassion of God.

Judaism (Dr. Laura Kaplan): The effects of love are greater than the effects of sin.

Scientology (Pat Stojak): This planet needs more people interested in religion to stay the cause of hatred.

Sikhism (Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning): Early in Sikhism, the Khalsa fellowship developed with the purpose to love and bless all humanity. All who live their faith share common ideals of loving and helping their fellow beings.

Zoroastrianism (Firdosh Dara Mehta): Love and compassion should be in everything we do with God’s creations.

With the mandate of MAS being “to sponsor socially responsible and relevant initiatives relating to the common good,” great things are accomplished when good people form a connection with each other.

Gurney summarized, “We listened and learned from one another and found, as we always seem to do, that the sameness outweighs the difference between us all.”

Quentin L. Cook, called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in October 2007, said, “Becoming partners in the defense of shared moral principles starts with sincere efforts by religious faiths to understand and learn from each other. … These relationships are not ecumenical; that is, we are not trying to come to an agreement on doctrinal practice, but instead there is a mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and a desire to collaborate on important issues where we find common ground” (“Partnering With Our Friends From Other Faiths,” August 2010,

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