News Story

Millennials Explore Ways to Live a More Public Faith

How can we live a more public faith? That was the topic of discussion posed to participants of the “Faith in the Future, Millennials of Faith” summit sponsored by the Cardus Religious Freedom Institute (CRFI). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a financial contributor and supporter of CRFI.

On November 15 and 16, 2019, millennials from diverse religious backgrounds met in Toronto to discuss issues of faith and how to live it more publicly. Three Latter-day Saint millennials contributed to the conversation: Eurah Park, a Brigham Young University graduate and York Region District School Board high school teacher; Andrew Opper, a University of Toronto student of public health and human geography; and Brianna Hurley, a Carleton University graduate and the publicity director at TARO PR.

Father Deacon Andrew Bennett, CRFI director, welcomed the group, saying, “We encourage young leaders of faith to have courage, to not be afraid, to take the zeal that you have and take it into the public square and engage others. Let them see in you that dignity and call out of them that dignity that they have.”

Park contributed to the panel that discussed “What are the challenges, real or imagined, that inhibit us?” She advocated for faith and courage when confronted with criticism or ridicule. “Do not take offense,” she said, “but instead invite people to the conversation. We need to carve out space for religious discussion. ... Many think religion is backward or limiting, but it’s so empowering! Have faith that what we share matters. Opening ourselves to others — sharing and believing — can help others.” Referencing Romans 14:19, Park encouraged participants to follow after those things that lead to edification.

Sam Oosterhoff, the youngest elected member of provincial parliament, asked participants to unapologetically speak of their faith and beliefs in public. “True pluralism encourages people to not just do things that are considered to be what normal society accepts but to live out who they are,” he remarked.

Amidst the diversity of religious representation at the summit, there was consensus that people of faith must live by example. Participants shared the following wisdom: “actions speak louder than words,” “be careful to not pass reverse judgement against the nonreligious” and “try to see more than just your own perspective.”

The Cardus Religious Freedom Institute exists to foster emerging scholarship, facilitate public discussion and engage our country’s democratic institutions on the nature of citizenship and the public square.

Elder John N. Craig, Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and CRFI advisory board member, encourages the millennial effort: “Our millennials have tremendous strength and influence. We need them, and all people of faith, to live their faith more publicly in this era of diminished priority to religion. Not only will their examples edify those with whom they engage, but they will help to preserve constitutional rights such as freedom of religion and expression in the public square.”

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