News Story

Mormon Young Adults Participate in Interfaith Event in Toronto

On November 12, 2017, young adult members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in the Toronto, Ontario, area participated in an interfaith dialogue at the University of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Centre for Spiritual Study and Practice. Participants came from various backgrounds, including Bahá’í, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths.

Sponsored by the Canadian Interfaith Conversation, the New Generation Interfaith Initiative held its first event, “Renewed Engagement: Forging New Paths for Our Interfaith Conversation.” The event brought together believers of various faiths to discuss how people of faith living in Canada can face the social and political realities of the modern world together. Topics discussed ranged from climate change and new technologies to poverty, refugee crises and Indigenous-settler relations.

Aimed at encouraging interfaith work among the rising generation, the event included panellists who shared what interfaith work has happened in the past and various ways to become engaged in interfaith work in the future, particularly as Toronto prepares to host the next Parliament of the World’s Religions November 1–7, 2018.

Stephen Smoot, a Mormon participant with the initiative and graduate student at the University of Toronto, expressed optimism in the ability of interfaith conversations to bridge gaps between believers of many faiths and to resolve common problems. “I was struck by how many of those of different faiths shared the same concerns as we Mormons do,” Smoot said. “It really was refreshing to hear Evangelical Christians and Muslims relate their experiences using technology, for example, to share their faith and combat misinformation that persists in our increasingly secular society.”

Ashraf Rushdy, one of the Bahá’í participants, quoted one of the panellist speakers, Samira Kanji, who had stated that “if [all human beings] see ourselves in a vertical relationship with God, then we are all in a horizontal relationship with each other.” Rushdy explained the importance of interfaith dialogue and how “these kinds of conversations have importance because … there’s a space for us here, together, to see a oneness of spirit as well.” Rushdy further added how he “appreciated that there was a table to discuss reconciliation and the role that faith communities and interfaith spaces can play in supporting that important process” at the interfaith event.

This event represents only one example of ways Church members have reached out to engage in interfaith dialogue, which helps build important relationships to strengthen society as we support each other to reach common goals in a “oneness of spirit.”

Highlighting the importance of becoming engaged in interfaith work, President Thomas S. Monson stated, “We have a responsibility to be active in the communities where we live, … to work cooperatively with other churches and organizations” (“The Mormon Ethic of Civility,” Oct. 2009).

Contributed by Eurah Park

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