News Story

Latter-day Saint Professor John Borrows Contributes to Cardus’s Indigenous Voices of Faith

Professor John Borrows, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an Indigenous scholar, shares his thoughts about faith in the booklet Indigenous Voices of Faith. Rev. Dr. Andrew Bennett, program director for Faith Communities at Cardus, describes the purpose of the Indigenous Voices of Faith project is “to affirm and to shed light on the religious freedom of Indigenous peoples to hold the beliefs and engage in the practices that they choose and to contextualize their faith within their own cultures” (

Borrows was one of 12 Indigenous people in Canada interviewed about their religious faith and experiences for the project.

Borrows, a member of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation in Ontario, serves as the interfaith specialist on the communication council for the Victoria British Columbia Stake. A law professor by training, he recently began his tenure as the inaugural Loveland Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law.

Borrows is widely recognized as one of the leading voices in Indigenous law research. His contributions in Canada include serving as research advisor for the groundbreaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law at the University of Victoria Faculty of Law, where he also co-founded the world’s first dual-degree program in Indigenous and common law. In March 2023, he was the recipient of the Charles Taylor Prize for Excellence in Policy Research from the Broadbent Institute.

Borrows shares how the religious traditions of his ancestors, which include Indigenous spiritual practices and religious connections to both Methodism and the United Church, were foundational to the development of his own faith. Borrows explains, “The Methodism of my great-great-great-grandfather was passed on to my great-great-grandfather, and then it was passed on to my great-grandfather, and he was the person that taught my mother how Anishinaabe and Christian teachings came together.”

Borrows, who joined the Church of Jesus Christ when he turned 18, describes how his love of his Indigenous heritage and his Latter-day Saint beliefs live together. “I’m walking in a world that’s both Anishinaabe and Christian, and I feel whole, I feel complete,” he says. “I feel like they are challenging me to do the same thing, which is to love God and love creation, love our fellow beings and all that is given us. And so, I delight in trying to find that connectivity. So, for me, my faith is putting those things together.”

Borrows’s love of making connections was put into action through his work on the communications council of the Victoria British Columbia Stake and as chair of the Victoria Multifaith Society. Borrows finds inspiration working in the multi-faith space. “One of our [Latter-day Saint] teachings by the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), is to ‘bring with you all the good that you have and let us add to it’ (Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, 2005), and ‘if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things’ (Articles of Faith 1:13). And so, I find so much truth, beauty and inspiration for faith in that multi-faith space. … I love the fact that I can learn from other faiths and apply their teachings in my life as well. It’s an expansive celebration of finding support for one another.”

A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the hallmarks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the faith’s earliest days, Joseph Smith elevated the principles of religious liberty and tolerance: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Articles of Faith 1:11).

The Cardus Faith Communities program is also working to promote understanding of Canadians’ freedom of religion and conscience, the place of religion in the public square and the ways in which faith congregations are active contributors to our common life. Learn more about the Indigenous Voices of Faith Project.

Latter-day Saints accept all sincere believers as equals in the pursuit of faith and in the great work of serving humanity.

Read the Story in French

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.